Sunday 17 December 2017

He is playing to his audience, but most voters will see through Trump

Patrons watch the first televised debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton alongside Monday Night Football and the Cleveland Indians baseball game at a sports bar in Ohio. Photo: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk
Patrons watch the first televised debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton alongside Monday Night Football and the Cleveland Indians baseball game at a sports bar in Ohio. Photo: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

Settling on a stool at 8.45 on Monday evening in a bar in Delaware, a small town slap in the middle of swing state Ohio, your columnist asked a group of 50-somethings close by if the presidential debate was going to be aired. A friendly bunch, who, it quickly became clear, ran the place, were not on the edges of their seats about the most eagerly anticipated debate in US election presidential history.

But despite their apparent disinterest, and seeing my clear eagerness to watch Clinton and Trump face off, one of the guys moved behind the bar to start pressing remote controls. Just as he switched off the music and brought up the right TV channel, the two candidates were making their way on stage. Out of the blue, one of the three seated next to me shouted at the TV. "Hillary is a c***" she yelled. The C word was repeated a few more times.

For a respectable-looking woman to use such language in those terms was a perfect illustration of the depth of antipathy that exists towards the Democratic candidate among many Americans (although most would put their feelings in less colourful terms).

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